Reprinted from the Daily Oakland Press, November 20, 2005
By: Mike Austerman
Jim Harper and crew of the morning show at soft rock WMGC-FM (105.1) will kick off their 27th annual Toys for Tots campaign with a live broadcast 6-10 a.m. Friday at Laurel Park Place in Livonia. It’ll be tying in to the so-called “official start of the Christmas shopping season.” The “Magic Morning Show” also will broadcast live from Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi on Nov. 28; at Oakland Mall in Troy on Nov. 29; at Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall on Nov. 30; the Macomb Mall in Roseville on Dec. 1; and Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights on Dec. 2. Each will feature a complimentary light breakfast, a visit from Santa Claus and other special guests. Toys for Tots is run by the U.S. Marine Corps and accepts donations of new, unwrapped toys that are then distributed to kids who otherwise might go without at Christmas.
I’d be remiss without throwing my compliments to the folks at WMGC for holding off on the early all-Christmas music thing this year. For those who weren’t ready for all the “ho-ho-ho” down the dial at soft rock WNIC-FM (100.3) starting Nov. 1, it’s been, ahem, “nice” to have an alternative.
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Since we’re all getting ready to hit the malls anyhow, classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) has put together a great reason to stop by Oakland Mall starting Tuesday. The station has put together the “94.7 WCSX Classic Rock Art Show & Sale,” showcasing a collection of 125 pieces of original art, lithographs, photographs, handwritten lyrics and animation cells from the greatest classic rock artists of all time. In addition to pieces from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and others, the display also will feature works from local artists. And all of it’s for sale.
An important part of this event is a silent auction of select pieces to benefit Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit, the nonprofit organization that provides a homelike meeting place and free program where cancer patients can build friendships, share their experiences and develop strategies for living with cancer. The show runs through Dec. 10 during regular mall hours.
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The first monthly ratings trend for the fall quarter was released earlier in the week with news-talk WJR-AM (760) in first place among listeners age 12 and older, moving back ahead of second-place smooth jazz WVMV-FM (98.7), the top-rated station over the summer. Also in the top 5 were urban WJLB-FM (97.9), Top 40 WKQI-FM (95.5), and oldies WOMC-FM (104.3). Ratings for the full fall marking period — the numbers that really count — won’t be available until after Jan. 1.
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Fine Tuning: The Detroit Pistons’ play-by-play man George Blaha will be heard on sports WDFN-AM (1130) past the current season after Da Fan won a competitive bidding process with at least one other station for the team’s radio rights. The multiyear extension gives the Pistons control over production and advertising sales. “We’re excited to continue our relationship with the Pistons. It’s a powerful combination,” says Clear channel regional vice president Dave Pugh.
Meanwhile, Steve Chase joins pop WDVD-FM (96.3) for overnight duties. He’s new in town, arriving from Cape Cod. And over at soft rock CIDRFM (93.9), Wendy Duff exits as program director and heads for Toronto.
The best takeoff this week on the legal battles between attorney Geoffrey Fieger and Attorney General Mike Cox was by WDVD morning team Blaine and Lisa with their Budweiser commercial parody titled “Real Legal Genius Fieger.” You bet your billable hours it had me driving off the road with laughter. Check it out at www.963wdvd.com under “Blaine & Lisa’s A/V.”
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Set Your Dials: Financial guru Rick Bloom hosts an interview with financial icon Charles Schwab at 3 p.m. today on news-talk WDTK-AM (1400) ... renowned organist, composer and Scott Joplin expert Richard Hyman is featured on “Somewhere in Time” at 6 p.m. today on WMUZ-FM (103.5) ... Adult pop CKWW-AM (580) and the syndicated program “When Radio Was” turn back the clock this week to remember classic Thanksgiving radio from the 1940s and ’50s. The full lineup, available online at www.am580radio.com, includes shows from “The Lone Ranger,” Milton Berle, “Father Knows Best” and more.
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Behind the mic: The legendary Paul Harvey, heard locally several times daily on WJR, was recently honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his long radio career. “Since his radio broadcasts first aired nationally in 1951, Mr. Harvey has won the trust of millions of radio listeners,” the White House noted. Harvey has been the recipient of numerous industry awards for his national daily radio programs — “Paul Harvey News and Comment” and “The Rest of the Story” — and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1990. His Paul Harvey News is the largest oneman network in the world, with three out of the top 15 programs in network radio, reaching more than 17 million listeners age 12 and older each week. With ABC Radio for more than 50 years, he’s heard on more than 1,000 affiliates.
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Mike Austerman is the founder of Michiguide.com and has covered radio for The Daily Oakland Press for 4 years.